Family worried about missing woman

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Brittany, missing since late June (photo provided to MHNN by family)

PORT JERVIS, NY – A young Port Jervis woman has not been seen or heard from by her family since June 23, and as far as they know has not been in touch with anyone at all in over a week, since July 7.  Brittany Amber Hendershot, 21, is the subject of an inter-agency police search and investigation.

Hendershot is a 2019 graduate of Port Jervis High School who recently gave birth to a son.  She was described by her mother, Crystal Hendershot, as having had no issues in school, with the law, or with family until meeting her Port Jervis boyfriend about a year ago.

Since that time, she has left two jobs, given birth and abandoned her baby, lived as a homeless person, and missed scheduled court sessions regarding the care of her child.  While she has never known her daughter to use drugs, she believes drugs may be part of the situation.

Brittany was last seen by her mother on June 23 when she picked up her last paycheck from Best Western in Westfall, Pennsylvania where both mother and daughter worked.

Since that time, Brittany has had no contact with her family, and for more than a week has been off social media and out of touch with friends.

“Brittany’s boyfriend came back to Port Jervis, but without Brittany. A private investigator told us her phone was sold, and has been traced to Kentucky,” Crystal said.  Brittany’s phone was her life.  She was always on the phone. Since July 7, no one has seen or heard from her at all.”

The investigator, who is helping the family free of charge, informed Crystal and Lee Hendershot that their daughter had picked up a $20 money gram sent by a friend to CVS in Middletown on July 7.  That was Brittany’s last known place and date of contact.  While she had worked briefly at Sonic in the Town of Wallkill, she stopped showing up for work and a paycheck remains unclaimed.

The boyfriend’s father, contacted by Mid-Hudson News this week, said he and his family are not aware of where Brittany is but also wish for her well-being.  He said his family has cooperated fully with police and have done their best to help both Brittany and their son over the past year.  Both he and Brittany’s mother affirm that the couple had chosen to be together and on their own. However, without funds, food, or a place to live, things were rough.

“There is no place for homeless people to live in Port Jervis, and because we have young children living with us, we could not have them here,” the father said.  “I connected them with HONOR in Middletown, which helped them for a while, and then they went to the Super 8.  We even paid for part of that hotel stay and food.  We tried to do everything we could to help them, even having them live with other family members.  We’re doing everything we can to help now.  We just don’t know where Brittany is.”

According to the boyfriend’s father, he remains homeless but is working.  His son has stated that he and Brittany went their separate ways, and that he does not know where she is.

“Believe me, the police have questioned him, and us, at length.  We have no idea where she is. I wish we did. We’re good people, and we’ve tried to help both of them.  We had urged Brittany to stay in touch with her family, and to check in with parents about her baby every day,” he said.  “We wish we knew where she was.”

Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden said that while police thus far have no indication of foul play, they are actively investigating the missing person report taken by officers from Crystal Hendershot on July 5. Two flyers have been distributed by police, including one to police agencies.

“Since the missing report on July 5th was filed, Brittany has been entered as a missing person in order to alert law enforcement agencies nationwide.  Officers have followed leads locally, in Middletown, and in the Town of Wallkill without success,” Worden said.  “The Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center is assisting with the investigation, and we are asking members of the public that may have knowledge of Brittany’s whereabouts to contact our station at 845-856-5101.”

At PJPD’s request, New York State Police are actively assisting Port Jervis and Wallkill Police in the investigation, according to State Police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel at Troop F.

Nevel said drone assistance was requested of the troopers on July 12.  He said a drone search was conducted and a campsite with a tent and food was located near JC Penney in Wallkill.  The area was investigated further by police and canine, but no indication found linking it to Brittany.

The public’s input is welcome in providing information that might help locate Hendershot.  While her parents are hopeful that the young mother is okay, they are also frightened that she may not be.

“We wonder where she is every day and night.  It’s very stressful and upsetting. It is not at all like Brittany to stay out of contact with everyone, and not to check on her baby.  We feel something has happened to her,” Crystal said.  “Is she out there somewhere, or are we going to find a body?”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Port Jervis Police Department at 845-856-5101.